Another year has come and gone, and it’s time once again to present The Nobbies, the official book awards of The Nervous Breakdown.

Below you’ll find this year’s winners, our picks for the best books of 2011.

Congrats to the victors, and their publishers.

And thanks, as always, for reading.


Charm was not among Priya’s gifts. She was lean and ambitious and had a temperament of hammered iron. Priya was from Bombay and had been in charge of emerging-markets equity for the Calloway Group for five years. She had studied at Oxford in the nineties and when she finished there had promptly been launched as a fund manager at Lehman, where her portfolio was the only one to turn a profit during the Asian crisis. A millionaire by twenty-eight, she could supposedly intuit peaks and troughs in the market as well as Warren Buffett could. Every day she spent an hour at the gym with her personal trainer, ate a great many vitamins, and drank two liters of green tea. She didn’t touch alcohol or cigarettes. “I would like to outlive my own children,” she’d said to a Financial Times reporter in an interview in 1997. But as it turned out, the conception, carrying, birthing, and rearing of children were not activities that interested her much.

Why do people love money?

There’s a connection between money and mortality. It’s no coincidence that wealthy people have longer life-expectancy: they have better healthcare, more time for the gym, better food, safer automobiles. Money is power and money is time, which is to say that money is a unit of life. Not for quality of life, but quantity and something else, something you could call flexibility. Because it affects what you can do—your powers. If you’re rich enough, you might even have superpowers. Bill Gates has superpowers, evidently. I gather he has decided to rid the world of malaria.